Accordion, Instrument of the Gods It Happened to Me Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

Rue Morgue Party (or: I Got to Meet My Hero, “Sex Machine”!)

A week ago today, I got a call from Darryl Wiggers, whom I met by
chance while picking up some lunch at the Liberty Market, a
deli/grocery near work. Daryl is the programming director for Scream,
the all-horror movie cable channel. He had a couple of tickets to a
party being thrown by Rue Morgue
magazine (Gothica, horror and general Rob Zombie-ism) in conjunction
with last weekend’s science fiction and horror convention. I’d planned
on having a rare quiet Friday night at home, but since the event was
taking place at the Pussycat Club, a mere couple of blocks from my
place, the Law of the Rare compelled me to go.

(The Law of the Rare is a personal philosophy: if I’m having trouble
deciding between two things, always choose the more rare one.)

I met Darryl at the Second Cup at Queen and John Streets and we walked
around the corner to the Pussycat Club. It hasn’t been the Pussycat
Club for very long — last summer, it was a jazz-funk bar owned by a
guy who looked like a very well-dressed Heavy D.

While walking there, Darryl mentioned that Tom Savini would be there.

“Don’t recognize the name,” I replied.

“He was the biker guy in the original Dawn of the Dead.”

“Been a while since I’ve seen Romero’s version,” I said.

“Well, he was also in From Dusk Till Dawn. He was ‘Sex Machine’.”

“OH MY GOD!” I yelled out. “Sex Machine is my hero!”

How can I not be fan of a guy with a machine gun codpiece and a ridiculous name?

More later, but in the meantime, you might want to check out the photos
of me, Darryl, Sex Machine and other horror movie stars who were at the
party. You can see them in photo album or slideshow format.

“Chop Top” from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

“Dog must hunt! Dog must hunt!”

“Pinhead” from the Hellraiser movies

Actual quote from Hellraiser II: “You’re so ripe, Joey. And it’s harvest time.”

“Sex Machine” from From Dusk Till Dawn

Machine-gun codpieces rule!

Gideon Strauss, in a comment on the photo with me and Doug “Pinhead” Bradley, wrote:

I love people who even KNOW the word “cenobite.”

The traditional definition of “cenobite” is “someone who belongs to a
religious order. Priests, monks, nuns, rabbis and druids are cenobites.
However, in the case of the Hellraiser
movies, the captial-C Cenobites are Clive Barker’s creations: evil
beings from another dimension delivering pleasure that soon turns into
gory pain. Doug Bradley played the most famous Cenobite: Pinhead, the
Cenobite leader. In Kingston in the summer of 1992, I spent a couple of
creeped-out evenings in Rik “DJ Stinky Poo-Poo” Young’s liviing room
watching the entire Hellraiser series.


Sick Day Yesterday

I took a “sick day” yesterday owing to something I ate, which gave me
some pretty wicked exhaust. Anyone who stood behind me yesterday
would’ve felt like the truck in this United Airlines jet safety video [800K Windows Media]. I’m back in action, and free of dangerous exhaust!

More on Geeky Proposals

Mark Pilgrim, author of Dive Into Python (Python’s analogue of the “Camel Book”, IMHO), tells me that my prediction from this entry
has been fulfilled. Yesterday, he was in an IRC channel where various
Python programmers were discussing the errors in the Python Marriage
Proposal (not to be confused with Python Enhancement Proposals).

Summer at Iridesce Sent pointed me to this proposal that is also working Perl code:

#!/usr/bin/perl -w
use strict;

my$f= $[;my
$ch=0;sub l{length}
sub r{join"", reverse split
("",$_[$[])}sub ss{substr($_[0]
,$_[1],$_[2])}sub be{$_=$_[0];p
"naxfcixz");$_=$q; $q=~
tr/f[a-z]/ [l-za-k]
;sub p{

be $mine for @ever


I remind you that this is working Python if you’ve made the appropriate definitions:
from Russia import bride

Accordion, Instrument of the Gods It Happened to Me

Things I Have Received in Exchange For Accordion Performances Over the Summer

In no particular order:

  • Lovin’ from Wendy

  • Smoothies for me and Scott from the Lettieri Cafe at Queen and Spadina
  • Beer from the bartender who looks like Heather Locklear’s younger sister at the 606 rooftop bar
  • Beer from the wandering magician at the 606 rooftop bar
  • “Best performer of the night” award from Kick Ass Karaoke
  • The gratitude of the CEO’s kids at the company picnic
  • A card with a picture of “Legolas” from the Lord of the Rings movies
  • Jagermeister shots from the 606 manager
  • Beer from a guy at the Drake Hotel who wanted Happy Birthday played for his girlfriend
  • Beer and chicken roti at the “Give Me Liberty” street festival
  • Kit Kat bar from the vendor at LaGuardia airport
  • Beer from the girl having a stagette at Smokeless Joe’s
  • Anarchist zine from a hippy chick at Kensington market
  • Beer from the table of girls at the Drake Hotel who didn’t think you could play pop songs on accordion
  • The opportunity to jump the line at a couple of clubs
  • Free cover for me and Wendy at FunHaus (the club formerly known as the Zen Lounge)
  • Beer from the guys at John’s Italian Deli on Baldwin Street
  • Beer from the waitress at Shoeless Joe’s
  • Pizza slices at Amato’s on Queen Street
  • Pop from the hot dog vendor at the Parkdale/Liberty market
  • The
    opportunity to demonstrate squats in front of my all-female BodyPump
    class. I got applause. “How do you know when an accordion’s ass is bad?
    When it looks like THIS!” I will never tire of that line.

  • Free cover at the El Mocambo for the White Cowbell Oklahoma show. Meryle
    asked the bouncer at the door if he’d seen an “Asian guy with a flaming
    cowboy hat and an accordion”, and he just laughed. I showed up 15
    minutes later and he started laughing so hard that he lost his balance.
    “I thought she was asking me some kind of trick question,” he said.
    “You go in free for giving me the biggest laugh of the night.”

  • A hearty handshake and slap on the back from an nice old man
    with an Eastern European accent who saw me on my bike with the
    accordion on my back. He pulled over his van, nearly cutting me off and motioned to me, asking
    me if I really played that and could I please play it for him.

  • A look of approval from actor/makeup artist Tom Savini, who played my favourite character in From Dusk Till Dawn: Sex Machine.
  • The
    biggest value: Plane tickets, hotel accommodations, admission,
    coveralls and booze by the organizers of the Dystopia party at the
    CONvergence SF conference in Minneapolis. Thanks, Dystopians! You made
    me feel like a rock star, and for that, you rock!

Yeah, buddy, but audioblogging may be the only way we’ll learn to pronounce your name correctly!

A brilliant audioblog entry [4.1 MB MP3] that explains why audioblogging ain’t all that by Maciej Ceglowski, the guy who came up with the Ceglowski Axiom. I will personally nominate this entry for a Bloggie.

To borrow a Coryism: treat audioblogging as damage and route around it!*

(Yes, there’s a text version, and I have a nicely-formatted one below.)

But seriously, folks: audioblogging has its place, but remember that
the written word, especially on the Global Data Network in its current
incarnation, is incredibly useful, portable and fungible.


As broadband expands and as blogging tools
become easier to use, a worldof temptations has opened up to the online
writer. The latest of these has been audioblogging, or posting snippets
of speech. Videoblogging isfollowing on its heels.

At first blush,
audioblogging sounds like a natural extension of onlinewriting. What
better way to convey your own ideas than through yourown words, spoken
in your own voice? Bloggers like Halley
Suitt (, Dave
Winer (, and Adam Curry (
have taken this idea and run with it, mixing frequent audio posts with
their text content. In the highest-profile audio blog post to date,
Winer even announced the cancellation of a blog hosting service –
affecting hundreds of users – in a ten minute audio file (you can hear

before you jump on the audioblogging bandwagon, remember this –
the power of the Web is the power to choose. You make your own trails,
and your own links. You read what you like and skip the boring bits.
And audioblogging takes that power of choice away. Your listeners become
a passive audience – they have no power to skim, they can’t skip
the boring parts, they can’t link or excerpt your post effectively.
Your post becomes invisible to Google and other search engines. And
anyone who has a hearing problem, or a dialup account, or doesn’t speak
your language too well, anyone who is trying to surf your site from the
office, or from an Internet cafe – well, they’re just plain out of luck.

also this – the average person speaks at one hundred, perhaps one
hundred fifty words per minute. Meanwhile, an accomplished reader can
read ten times faster – up to a thousand words a minute, and
that’s straight-up reading, not even skimming. You’re forcing people to
listen to you at a speed that’s barely faster than the speed at which
they cantype. Why are you wasting their time? Is your voice really
that beautiful?

From the invention of the alphabet, to movable
metal type, to the advent of cheap paper, universal mandatory public
education, universal literacy, the Internet – the modern world has built
on the back of text! This is not by accident! This is not a mistake!

yourself – is the key to making your site more interesting really to add
rich media? Or is it possible that if you took more care in
your writing, said something passionate, grammatical, interesting, and
pleasant to read, it would actually make more of a difference?

David Thoreau said “Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys,
which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved
means to an unimproved end… We are in great haste to construct a
magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be,
have nothing important to communicate”

So what do you have to communicate?

may not have been a big fan of technology, but we can still read him one
and a half centuries later and be pulled in by his beautiful prose
style. Is your audio post going to stand the test of time?

and sisters, we deserve better than this, and those whom we write
for deserve better. This is not what we built the web for! For the
first time in human history, you can have anything you write read by
millions of people, whether within days or within hours, and all it
takes is talent, imagination and the discipline to put up something
worth reading. There are no obstacles anymore – so why must we create
new ones? Just because you’re going to be able to do a real-time
three dimensional high-definition interactive virtual reality
fly-through of the inside of your cat – does that mean you should? Does
that mean itbelongs on your website? This is not the legacy we want to
leave! So stop the ridiculous self indulgence, and shut up and write.

if you want a copy of this without having to listen through it, by God
you can find one at

31, 2004

In the News Music

This is Where All the Dave Matthews Band Fans Get On My Case

I don’t see why people are so surprised about the incident in which the Dave Matthews Band’s tourbus ended up dumping its toilet contents onto a boat full of tourists.

It’s just a more literal form of what they’ve been doing to us with their music.

And at least you can wash off the crap.